Friday, June 13, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
Had frustrating false starts in both the NW and the SE (CBS for CNN - 4D: "Reliable Sources" broadcaster - BELLS for BIKES - 1D: Exercise room lineup - PRESS AGENT for SALES AGENT - 58A: Pitcher?), and a similar snafu in the far west, where my first stabs at 33D: Ripley who wrote the "Gone With the Wind" sequel "Scarlett" (Alexandra) and 34D: Abuses (ill-treats) were CASSANDRA and MISTREATS, respectively. But I sliced through the rest of the puzzle very smoothly and somehow finished in just over 7 minutes, which is pretty good for me on a Friday. I wish it had been slightly more challenging, as it was wildly entertaining, and I like good puzzles to last ... well, not as long as possible, but longer than 7 minutes. Lots of good mid-range fill today, particularly in the name department. Any puzzle that starts with BELCH (1A: Shakespeare's Sir Toby _____) and ends with MERTZ (61A: 1950s sitcom family name) is A-OK in my book. The MERTZ / KURTZ crossing is especially delicious (47D: Literary character whose last words are "The horror! The horror!"). KURTZ is from Conrad's "Heart of Darkness," and the quoted line was uttered in "Apocalypse Now" and has recently been used on "The Colbert Report" segment, "Democralypse Now"; here's an example:
I have a friend visiting from out of town, and I am meeting her in, oh, 1 hr, so it's time for a quick, all-bullet version of my write-up. Ready: Go!
- 6A: Italian architect Rossi (Aldo) - who? I ask the same question of, let's see ... 57A: Baseball team owner Moreno (Arte) and 10D: Opera impresario Caldwell (Sarah).
- 16A: Part of the view in "A Room With a View" (Arno) - Haven't seen this movie in 20 years (and no, I never read the book). ARNO is crossword gold, though - most popular O-ending European river ... besides the EBRO.
- 20A: Vengeful Quaker of literature (Ahab) - one of my most favorite clues ... ever. Just the phrase "Vengeful Quaker" makes me giddy.
- 21A: Pal, in Pau (ami) - where? Oh, the Pyrenees ... I see.
- 22A: Highest-scoring Scrabble word that doesn't use A, E, I, O or U (syzygy) - we just passed the 6-wk anniversary of the Tuesday SYZYGY puzzle that did me in, and since I monitor both same-day and syndication traffic to my site, this word was fresh in my mind.
- 25A: Cryogenic refrigerant (ethane) - is the cryogenics industry somehow infiltrating the puzzle? This is two cryogenics-related clues in one week. That's a lot.
- 32A: They have people eating in a lot (tailgate parties) - very awesome clue, introducing a string of three great 15-letter answers in the middle of the puzzle. The others: 37A: 1972 #1 hit for the Staple Singers ("I'll Take You There"); and 38A: Sentence fragments often beginning with "wh-" words (relative clauses).
- 39A: Nos. pressed after getting through (ext) - as in "extension"; I had RST at first, figuring it was some phone keypad-related thing I didn't understand.
- 42A: Dorothy Lamour's trademark garment (sarong) - "Trademark?" I challenge! I honestly had no idea who this woman was. I know the name very well ... but she's just a name to me. Here she is showing off her "trademark garment":
- 48A: Org. that gives out Jazz Masters Awards (NEA) - National Endowment for the Arts
- 49A: Something to do in a virtual room (chat) - what else can you do? Lurk, I guess.
- 2D: "Politics is the _____ of the imagination": Ian McEwan ("enemy") - When did this guy become a political philosopher?
- 3D: Walter who created Woody Woodpecker (Lantz) - the third of your Z-ending five letter names today. Is that a record?
- 9D: Divining device, in sci-fi (orb) - I need an example. I did a [SPOCK ORB] Google search: nothing. (30D: Son of Sarek => SPOCK)
- 15D: QB's talent (play-making) - just a fantastic answer
- 23D: Big Three locale (Yalta) - speaking of Big Three ... Lakers blew a 20+ point lead last night to go down 3-1 in the NBA Finals to Boston and their "Big Three" of KG, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen.
- 24D: Unit of explosive force (gigaton) - another great, lively answer.
- 25D: Dress uniform adornments (epaulettes) - very military ... favored by many a dictator.
- 26D: Golden Horde members (Tartars) - I just learned that TATARS and TARTARS ... are the same thing.
- 36D: Dull sound ("thunk!") - as in "who'da thunk that was a word?"
- 50D: Album after "Beatles VI" ("Help!") - HELP! indeed. "HELP, BEATLES VII won't fit!"
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld